Friday, 10 April 2009

Movie Review - Spiderman 2

Spiderman was a good film, though I felt it was rather more violent than it needed to be. It focused rather more on the introspective battle the hero was fighting with himself than other superhero movies have done, an the result was a darker, more thoughtful take on the genre. Spiderman 2 takes this concept further and tones the violence down a bit, making it more readily accessible to younger children and broadening its fan base.

TOBEY MAGUIRE returns as Peter Parker and his alter-ego, the eponymous masked hero, who is finding that his dual life is causing him more problems than he can handle – causing him to get lower grades, lose his job, and of course lose the love of his life, Mary Jane Watson (KIRSTEN DUNST). His friendship with Harry Osborn (James Franco) is also strained as Spiderman was the cause of the death of the evil bad guy (and Harry’s father) at the end of the first film. Peter’s aunt (Rosemary Harris) has troubles of her own, and added to all of this is the fact that good scientist dude Dr. Octavius (Alfred Molina) is about to be turned into evil octagonal limbed freak dude Doc Ock. J.K. Simmons will reprise his role as J. Jonah Jameson, the publisher of the Daily Bugle, who is busy turning the city against Spiderman.

Parker has to make some tough decisions… and if he doesn’t, who will save the city?

(Drumroll…)

Practically everything about the film is excellent (apart from the last 15 minutes – but more of that later). The acting is very good overall, with Maguire excellent as Peter Parker although far less convincing as Spiderman. (Perhaps a good job then that Spiderman is often CGI, though you won’t be able to spot the spice points, the effects are that good.) Dunst makes a wonderful heroine – cute, not too soppy, not too stupid, not too irritating – everything that Lois Lane isn’t, in fact… Molina has great fun as the scientist turned villain, Franco is as moody and brooding in his role as even Rufus Sewell would have been, and Harris is, as always, a joy to watch, while Jameson is wonderfully funny as the mean but kind editor.

The choreography of the fight scenes and special effects is superb – some of the best I’ve ever seen. Despite the fact that there are fewer action scenes than in other similar movies, I never felt that the film dragged at any point, and when the action scenes did get there, they were gob-smacking. The script is very good (though occasionally the dialogue should have been better) and perfectly paced. You can really empathise with Parker in the first section of the film where absolutely everything is going wrong, though Maguire’s attempts at portraying strong emotion later in the film gave you the impression that he was in desperate need of the toilet at the time.

Only the last quarter of an hour of the film is really disappointing, with the surprise twists being seen a mile off, extremely obvious setting up of the sequel, and some seriously stupid scientific theory. It’s still enjoyable in a cheesy way even so, and the rest of the film is excellent, so I still thoroughly recommend Spiderman 2 to anyone who likes superhero movies.

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